Sunday, 28 December 2008

Why does Israels greater enemies not attack?

A somewhat sobering analysis by Herb Keinon in the Jerusalem Post [emphasis added]. It's easy for the Western press to lament and ruminate on the actions of the Israeli military from the comfort and security of their flat or house in suburbia in the West. If the UK were bombarded with missiles we would expect no less than a massive and overwhelming response to say to our enemies that is utterly unacceptable, and so that they would be afraid to attack. We in the UK have the Trident nuclear deterrent.
The Hebrew newspapers, over the last few days, have taken to printing on their front pages maps of areas that could be reached by missiles from Gaza. The purpose of these maps is unclear: is it to warn, to educate or to scare?

Either way, the maps miss the mark, for - as most everyone in this country understand inherently - most of Israel can be hit by missiles from somewhere, either from Gaza in the south, or from Lebanon, Syria and even Iran in the north and east. Israel can be hit by Hamas' short range kassams, Hizbullah's mid-range katyushas, or Syria and Iran's long range ballistic missiles.

In short, we are all petty much inside the missile range of our enemies.

Then why don't they strike? Why aren't the missile falling everywhere, at all times, like they have been doing in the communities around Gaza for the last eight years. It's obviously not because Hizbullah or Syria have turned into Lovers of Zion, and it's not because they can't or don't have the ability to strike. They don't fire because they don't want to, because they realize that it they did, they would pay an insufferable price.

Hizbullah has taken a strategic decision that - at least for now - it is not in its interest to hit Israel. The Second Lebanon War, with all its problems, did deliver to Hizbullah and Lebanon a mighty blow, and as a result, there has been some 30 months of quiet in the north. Hizbullah is arming, yet quiet prevails.

Moreover, the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat quoted a Hizbullah source Sunday as saying his organization would not join Hamas and open a second front in the current fighting because it was not interested in a conflict with Israel at this time. In other words, it was concerned about the Israeli reaction.

Trying to duplicate that equation in the south is what lies behind Operation Cast Lead.

The goal is not to take out all the rockets and missiles in the Gaza Strip - at this point a seemingly impossible task - but rather to uproot from Hamas the desire to launch those missiles and rockets by smacking the organization so hard it will think innumerable times before returning to its old modus operandi.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been careful in setting modest goals for the operation: there is no grandiose talk of destroying Hamas, or even destroying their ability to hit Israel. They are talking about changing the security environment in the south, and the way they want to do this is not by uprooting all the missile launchers in Gaza, but rather by uprooting the will inside Hamas to launch their missiles - not because they can't, but because they are simply afraid to.

No comments: